Tonight on “What Would You Do?” transgender teen and advocate, Jazz Jennings, joins ABC’s John Quinones for a two-part scenario about a mother who has a problem with a transgender woman using the women’s bathroom at a restaurant, especially when her young daughter is about use it.
This scenario was inspired by many headlines in the news, where lawmakers are deciding whether transgender Americans should be allowed to use the restrooms for the gender that they identify with.
Jennings, arguably one of the most high-profile transgender teens in America, has been sharing her story since she was very young. Many recall her groundbreaking interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters, when Walters asked her the straightforward question, “Are you a boy or a girl?”
Jennings, just 11 years old at the time, told her, “I am definitely a girl. Like, that’s all I consider myself as.”
She has become an advocate for transgender kids and has fought for their civil rights, including a push for more gender neutral bathrooms.
In tonight’s episode, we see what happens when customers witness a mother — our actress Diana — tell a customer, who is a transgender woman, that she does not approve of her using the women’s restroom. Our actress, Nadia, also a transgender woman, plays the customer who is trying to locate the women’s restroom.
Nadia: Hi, could you point me to the ladies’ room?
Waitress: Yeah, sure. It’s just right over there.
Nadia: Thanks so much.
Diana: Sorry I just overheard, are you looking for the women’s bathroom?
Nadia: Yes, I found it. Thanks.
Diana: Oh no. I know you might feel like you’re a woman, but you’re obviously a man. You can’t go in there.
As soon as our disapproving mother starts making offensive comments to Nadia, diners start to get involved. A group of male customers quickly comes to Nadia’s defense. Tim, one of the men, asks Diana, “Because she’s trans, you’re not gonna let her go to the bathroom, and giving her a problem? “
He continues to question Diana and disagrees with her statements. When Diana asks the other men for their opinions, Stewart jumps in and says, “I don’t have a problem with it. It’s not affecting me.”
Jennings is captivated with these men and their decision to stick up for Nadia. She says that they “restored her faith in humanity.”
One diner agreed with our mother’s concerns. After Diana tells Nadia that she will not allow her daughter to use the restroom at the same time as Nadia, Nadia excuses herself to use it first. After Nadia departs from the table, this customer, Fred, tells Diana that he, too, does not think that Nadia should be able to use the women’s restroom. Fred tells Diana to “thank Obama” because “he’s the one who made that possible.”
Later, after the scene breaks, Fred tells John Quinones, “The law I think allows them to use the women’s restroom, right? It makes me feel uncomfortable, you know, especially since I have granddaughters, and I really wouldn’t want them going into a restroom that has a man or body parts that are a man. It’s as simple as that.”
In another scene, a customer named Corrie escorts Nadia to the restroom after Diana tells Nadia that she just isn’t comfortable with her using the women’s room. When Corrie returns, she tells Diana that you “just gotta love people the way that you’re supposed to love people. And if she feels comfortable using the women’s bathroom, she’s not hurting anyone.” When Diana questions what message this is sending to her daughter, Corrie responds, “Everyone pees? That’s really it. Everybody has to use the bathroom.” When John Quinones comes out, Corrie says that she leans on her faith when with dealing with people like Diana. She’s a Christian who just tries to love people, even if she doesn’t agree with their opinions.
At the end of the day, Nadia shares with Jennings and Quinones that Jennings’ interview with Barbara Walters helped her realize her gender identity. Jennings adds that even though being trans is hard, “It makes us stronger and allows us to be more confident in ourselves.”
To see how other customers react, and to watch Jazz Jennings jump into one of the scenes as an actress, watch “What Would You Do?” tonight at 9/8c on ABC.
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